Pete Paphides delves into the BBC auditions process for aspiring bands of the 50s and 60s.
Pete Paphides delves into the BBC auditions process for aspiring bands in the 1950s and 60s such as the Rolling Stones, Elton John, The Who and Pink Floyd.
Throughout this era, any artist hoping to achieve wider national recognition would try and secure national radio exposure. To do this, they would have to meet the exacting standards of a small but powerful board of assessors within the BBC. Producers and sound engineers of the time remember the sessions and we hear musicians recalling their audition process - including Peter Hammill of Van der Graaf Generator, Judy Dyble of Fairport Convention and Alvin Stardust.
The audition panels' notes are carefully kept to this day in the BBC archive. Nick Drake's notes, for example, read as follows: "Suitable to broadcast, but would probably only be in specialist late night programmes. Type of artist who would appear on 'John Peel' record label - underground, folky. YES."
Among the artists the BBC wasn't initially convinced about were the Rolling Stones, while the errant behaviour of other groups recording BBC sessions - Pink Floyd, for example - threatened their relationship with the Corporation.
Producer: Laura Parfitt
A White Pebble Media production for BBC Radio 4.